Navaratri or Navratri means ‘Nine nights’. Navaratri is a festival celebrated in India for nine days.
During the first three days, Durga is worshipped. She personifies that aspect of shakti which destroys our negative tendencies. Stories in the Puranas symbolically depict Devi in the form of Durga as waging war and destroying the asuras.
Correspondingly, we worship Lakshmi for the next three days. Lakshmi is not just the giver of gross wealth or prosperity; She is the Mother who gives according to the needs of her children.
Accordingly, the last three days are dedicated to worshipping Saraswati, the embodiment of Knowledge.
The Tenth day is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami or the festival of victory.
Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati are not different entities, but different facets of the singular Divinity.
Dussehra is a time to celebrate the triumphs of good over evil, such as Durga’s victory over Mahishasura. In some parts of India, Dussehra is associated with the victory of the god Rama over the demon-king Ravana.
In Karnataka, Navaratri is observed at home and by lighting up Hindu temples, cultural sites, and many regal processions. It is locally called Dasara and it is the state festival (Nadahabba) of Karnataka. Of the many celebrations, the Mysuru Dasara is a major one and is popular for its festivities.
The contemporary Dasara festivities at Mysore are credited to the efforts of King Raja Wodeyar I in 1610. On the ninth day of Dasara, called Mahanavami, the royal sword is worshipped and is taken on a procession of decorated elephants and horses. Also, Ayudha Puja is dedicated to Saraswati, in which military personnel upkeep their weapons and families upkeep their tools of livelihood, both offering a prayer to Saraswati, as well as Parvati and Lakshmi. The day after Navaratri, on Vijayadashami, the traditional Dasara procession is held on the streets of Mysore. An image of the Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden saddle (hauda) on the back of a decorated elephant and taken on a procession, accompanied by tableaux, dance groups, music bands, decorated elephants, horses, and camels.
Navdurga & Significance of Each day of Navratri:
First Day : Shailputri
On the first day, Devi Shailaputri is worshipped. In this form, Devi Parvati is revered as the daughter of Himalaya Raja. Shaila means extraordinary or rising to great heights. The divine consciousness represented by Devi always surges from the peak.
Second Day : Brahmacharini
On the second day, Devi Brahmacharini is propitiated. Devi Brahmacharini is the form of Devi Parvati in which she undertook severe penance to have Lord Shiva as Her consort. Brahma means divine consciousness and achar refers to behavior.
Third Day : Chandraghanta
On the third day, Devi Chandraghata is the presiding Devi. Chandraghata is the special form that Devi Parvati assumed at the time of Her marriage with Lord Shiva. Chandra refers to the moon. The moon represents our mind. The mind is restless and keeps moving from one thought to another. Ghanta is a bell which produces only one kind of sound always. The significance is that when our mind is established at one point, i.e Divine, then our prana (subtle life force energy) gets consolidated leading to harmony and peace. This day thus signifies withdrawing from all vagaries of the mind, with a single focus on Mother Divine.
Fourth day : Kushmanda
On the fourth day, Mother Divine is worshipped as Devi Kushmanda. Kushmanda means a pumpkin. Ku means little, ushma means energy and anda refers to egg. This entire universe which arose from the cosmic egg (hiranyagarbha) is manifested from an infinitesimal energy of Devi. A pumpkin also represents prana as it has the unique property of absorbing and radiating prana. It is one of the most pranic vegetables.
Fifth day : Skandamata
Skandamata means Mother of Skanda. On the fifth day, the motherly aspect of Devi Parvati is worshipped. In this form, she is the mother of Lord Karthikeya.
Sixth day : Katyayani
On the sixth day, Devi manifests as Katyayani. It is a form that Mother Divine assumed to annihilate the demonic forces in the universe. She was born from the anger of the gods. She is the one who slayed Mahishasura. As per our scriptures, anger that supports dharma (righteousness) is acceptable.
Seventh day : Kalaratri
On the seventh day, we invoke Devi Kalaratri. Mother Nature has two extremes. One is terrifying and devastating. The other is beautiful and serene. Devi Kalaratri is a fierce form of Devi. Kalaratri represents the dark night. Night is also considered an aspect of Mother Divine as it is night that brings solace, rest and comfort to our souls. It is only at night that we get a glimpse of infinity in the skies. Devi Kalaratri is that infinite dark energy that houses innumerable universes.
Eighth day : Mahagauri
Devi Mahagauri is beautiful, gives momentum and freedom in life. Mahagauri represents the beautiful and serene aspect of Nature. She is that energy which propels our lives and also liberates us. She is the Devi who is worshipped on the eighth day.
Ninth day : Siddhidatri
On the ninth day, we worship Devi Siddhidatri. Siddhi means perfection. Devi Siddhidatri brings perfection in life. She makes the impossible, possible. She takes us beyond the ever reasoning logical mind to explore the realm beyond time and space.
Here are some of the Vrat / Festival recipes for Navaratri:
Sabudana Khichadi | Sago Khichadi | Sabbakki Kichadi Recipe Video :
Enjoy the delightful recipes this festive season and make sure you spread the joy and cheer across friends and family!